International Cruise and Ferry - Spring/Summer 2019

COVER STORY Upfront International Cruise & Ferry Review 46 William Tatham tells Jacqui Griffiths why the Port Authority of Jamaica is looking beyond the waterfront to delight future generations of cruise guests New possibilities n island rich in culture, history and natural beauty, Jamaica holds unlimited discoveries for cruise guests. Just look at its ports – from Montego Bay with its luxurious beach resorts and golf courses to Falmouth with its Historic District full of Georgian architecture, to the coves and waterfalls of Ocho Rios or the cultural, ecological and archaeological attractions of soon-to-be- opened Port Royal, these gateways to the island are as diverse as the landscape itself. Port Royal, with its 500-year history spanning everything from earthquakes to pirates, is the site of an innovative project to bring cruising back to Kingston while protecting the area’s sensitive ecology and historical sites. It is about to achieve a major milestone. “Our SeaWalk floating pier, from Cruise Ventures, has been completed and we’re looking to install it with the overall development of the port facilities around April-May 2019,” says William Tatham, vice president of cruise shipping at the Port Authority of Jamaica. “The port facility, which includes the substantial Royal Naval Dockyard, had fallen into disuse since the 1960s. We’ve now taken possession of that property and we’re working to complete the terminal building, ground transportation and so on by fall 2019.” Plans are also underway to improve tourist attractions in the town of Port Royal. “We’ll be upgrading the guns and museum pieces at Fort Charles over the summer and improving the story-telling to better describe the fort and its history,” says Tatham. “It’s already a tourist attraction, but right now visitors tend to wander around it. We’re going to make it a more interactive experience for them.” On Jamaica’s north coast at Montego Bay, a major upgrade of berth two is underway to accommodate Carnival’s XL-class ships. “During the first phase we are implementing what was berth one, which had never actually been built, to extend berth two,” says Tatham. “We’re putting in bigger bollards and new fenders, extending the berth space and creating facilities to supply LNG ships there. We’re looking to complete that this year, and next year we’re going to upgrade and expand the cruise terminal and ground transportation areas.” At Falmouth, dredging of the port’s southern berth was completed late last year, enabling it to accommodate two of Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis-class ships. Port Authority of Jamaica has also turned its gaze inland, working extensively with local authorities and government entities on various projects. “We’ve done a comprehensive streetscape programme, upgrading the streets and the crossroads in the town,” says Tatham. “We’ve also built two dedicated markets for craft vendors who had previously been selling on the streets and sidewalks.”